Manufactured Home Buying Tips

Luxury mobile homes in a row

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Manufactured home designs range from the bare basics to top-of-the-line luxury so you can easily find a home that meets your needs and price range. With the right research and knowledge, you can find the best home at the best price and walk away from the experience with a smile.

The United States Census Bureau calculated the average sales price for a manufactured home in 2017 to be $68,100. Compare that to the $372,500 average price for a traditional stick-built single-family home in 2016, and you'll see why the homes are such a great choice.

Buying a manufactured home is a fairly simple, and somewhat similar, to buying a stick-built home. One major difference is the fact that you will be going to a dealership instead of a real estate agent.

Budget 

There are a few preparations you'll need to do before visiting the first dealership, and that's calculating how large a home you can afford. Financial experts advise that a home should never cost more than 25-28% of your total monthly income after taxes. You will need to add insurance, taxes, and maintenance costs into that figure.

Features

While looking at homes, you will find many options and styles available, know the features you consider most important. Do you need three bedrooms or can you go with two? Will you need the gourmet kitchen upgrade?

Knowing the features that are most important to you will help you avoid emotional attachment which often leads to buyers remorse. The home you ultimately choose should meet most of the features you listed before you visited the first home.

Upgrades

Researching manufactured home floor plans and features online can help you narrow down the homes to a manageable list. Certain features and upgrades can increase the life span of the home and help with a resale value such as:

Sales Negotiations 

Don't be scared to negotiate the price of a manufactured home. Manufactured home dealerships mark up the price of each home an average of 18-26%. Dealers also utilize holdbacks, just like automobile dealerships. This means there is a profit built into the invoice price of the home. Even if you buy a home at invoice dealers will still make a profit based on the holdback.

Some dealers will speak regarding monthly payment amounts, as opposed to the total price. Don't let them talk you into naming a monthly payment that you would pay. You want to negotiate on the total price of the home, not the monthly costs.

Insurance, Taxes, and Extended Warranties

Some dealerships will offer to have insurance, taxes, and even extended warranties attached to the price of the home. Don't do it! You will end up paying interest on the additional items which could more than double the cost. Extended warranties should be handled with caution; Some of them aren't worth the price.

Homeowner's insurance should be bought from an insurance agent, not a salesman at a manufactured home dealership.

Installation

Once you have chosen the home, you will need to decide on the transporters, installers, and finish carpenters. Dealerships will often have one company they use, but you should research those companies just as you would any contractor. The majority of manufactured home issues are caused by faulty transportation and installation, so you want the best people doing the work. If the dealer insists that you use only one company, be wary.

Buying a manufactured home is an exciting time for anyone, and there are a lot of things you will have to consider. Knowing how the process works and what to expect during the sale can help you make the best buying decision.